Conceal Carry During Archery Season

Recently, I was asked if an archery hunter is legally allowed to carry his handgun while archery hunting. This is an excellent question because it is widely believed that it is unlawful to be in possession of a firearm during archery hunting. Some hunters are provided the leeway to carry concealed weapons during their archery hunts.

Under the Pennsylvania Game and Wildlife Code, a person is expressly prohibited from using or possessing a firearm during the archery season:

58 Pa. Code §141.43(a)(2)(i): “While hunting deer during the archery season, it is unlawful to…[u]se or possess a firearm….”

However, two exceptions apply to this rule. The first allows a hunter to use a muzzleloader during the overlaps of the early and late muzzleloading season and the late archery and flintlock muzzleloading deer seasons if the person has a both a valid archery and muzzleloading license.

58 Pa. Code §141.43(a)(2)(i)(B): “A person may possess and use both a bow or crossbow and a muzzleloading firearm during the overlaps of the early archery and muzzleloader deer seasons and the late archery and flintlock muzzleloading deer seasons if that person is in possession of both a valid archery deer license and a valid muzzleloader deer license and meets the greater protective material requirements for the muzzleloader deer season, if applicable.”

The second exception to this prohibition allows a hunter with a valid License to Carry a Firearm to possess certain firearms while engaged in any activity regulated by the Game and Wildlife Code.

58 Pa. Code §141.43(a)(2)(i)(A): “A person may possess certain firearms during the archery deer season under the authorizations of section 2525 of the act (relating to possession of firearm for protection of self or others).”

34 Pa. Code §2525(a): “General rule.-—It is lawful for a law enforcement officer or any person who possesses a valid license to carry a firearm issued under 18 Pa C.S. Section 6109 (relating to licenses) to be in possession of a loaded or unloaded firearm while engaged in any activity regulated by this title.

Therefore, a hunter with a valid conceal carry permit is allowed to carry his or her firearm during the yearly archery season. While they are NOT allowed to use this weapon to harvest an animal, they are legally allowed to carry it for personal protection.

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